Beat the Winter Blues
By January, when the holidays are over and everything settles into routine, the winter blues can set in. The weather in the mid-west gets cold, rainy, snowy, and gross. Indoor recess becomes the norm, and students (and staff!) get restless. Some fresh, fun ideas can break up those winter doldrums and bring excitement back to the classroom. Here are some of my favorite, easy-to-plan winter fun activities.
Break out the Sensory Play
Nothing livens up my classroom like some fun sensory play. We swap out sensory bin fillers every two weeks to keep items novel. Winter lends itself to some great sensory play ideas. Here are some of my favorite.
- Cotton balls for ‘snow’
- Styrofoam balls and props (I use felt) for a ‘build a snow man’ station
- Pretend ice
- Winter animals/penguins
- Real or pretend snow (If we can’t conjure up snow, I use pretend!)
- Ice and warm water with pipettes
- Snowflake making station with paper and scissors
Small Group Activities
Some of my favorite small group activities include creating something collaboratively. One of our favorite activities is building a snowman on the board. We take turns picking the eyes, nose, hands, scarf, and hat. Sometimes we even add feet! Then each student describes the snowman by using adapted writing (often we will fill in the blank with describing sentences such as ‘My snowman is _____’).
Taking turns using Easy Matching Workbooks are also a favorite activity. Students can label, practice taking turns, and work together to make matches. The new winter books are instant hits and are now student favorites. They are easy to prep, too.
Fine Motor & Art
We love a good art project in our classroom. There are so many ideas out there for fun and easy to create art. Here we cut out the outline of a snowman and make a stencil. Use chalk to outline the snowman stencil on blue construction paper. We then used our fingers to push the chalk to the edge of the construction paper with the stencil still on the paper. Student used chalk and markers to fill in the snowman and add features like eyes, buttons, a hat and arms. It took a lot of direction following and we used a lot of fine motor skills along the way.
No matter how you beat the winter blues, make sure you add some fun in your classroom this season! Not only will your students love it, you will too!